Release Date: OUT NOW!
Platform: PS4 Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Yes, Hidetaka Miyazaki’s debut PS4 hack ’ n’ slasher is hard. No, it’s not quite as good as Dark Souls. But get ready to hurt and be joyously chuffed about it.
From Software’s legacy shows through: the tightly choreographed quasi- open- world exploration of Dark Souls is welded together by the interconnected hub world system seen in Demon’s Souls. It’s a hugely successful structural mish- mash, and one that offers unparalleled player agency when it comes to dealing with the utterly exacting, wonderfully poised third- person combat model.
This is the most overtly horrorflavoured game From has ever designed. The city drips with dread; its cobbled, gothic streets smother you as cramped environments and baying mobs look to end your mysterious Hunter’s life. The combat is just about the most thoughtfully constructed, constantly exhilarating fighting system we’ve ever played, certainly on PS4. Learning its intricacies is terrifying. Be very afraid. “Shields are nice, but not if they engender passivity,” snarls one item description, mocking you for even entertaining the idea of using a piece of equipment that was once beyond vital to skirmishes in From’s previous games.
Bloodborne erects the pillars of its combat upon scintillating, unyielding aggression. Where in Dark Souls you would rhythmically block and parry, here the game is won and lost by how effectively your Hunter can dart and dash around their enemies. Striking back after being hit is also key – the Regain system means you can now win back a chunk of lost HP should you land an attack within the first second or so of being wailed on.
Sadly, on a tech front, some failings hobble the game’s grab for top score. The camera can be a nightmare during boss fights – an outcome of slapping massive foes into cramped arenas. More problematic is the framerate; Bloodborne doesn’t quite hit a steady 30fps, which makes panning the camera an occasional juddering annoyance.
We still love Bloodborne, though. The combat is peerless, the world captivating and the sense of deadly exploration never more compelling. Miyazaki and From Software have delivered another brutal, brilliant hack ’ n’ slash package, the PS4’ s first essential, bespoke current- gen exclusive. Buy it. Love it. Fear it. Dave Meikleham
Another brutal, brilliant hack ’ n’ slash package
And this is why you shouldn’t walk home alone after dark.